With twelve men’s teams battling it out at the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Worcester, to try to seize one of the five places available, four teams have now secured their illustrious place in the Rio line up.
After a tight first half in the opening quarter final, it was Germany who came out the strongest against Israel (75-54); whilst Turkey came out on top in a tense quarter final match with Spain (63-54). Netherlands, the surprise package for the tournament, took the third spot over Poland (63-56); the fourth and final spot of the evening was then secured by the Great Britain Men’s Team with a convincing win over Italy (77-48).
Germany’s Head Coach Nicolai Zeltinger said, “It’s a big relief to know we have secured a place in Rio next year. We had a lot of pressure going into the game even though we didn’t need to because we have played a great tournament so far, but we could see it in the players that it was a special game. Now we are through and qualified for Rio we can come back to the basketball and play the way we would like to, fast aggressive defense. We are looking for more out of this tournament now”
The Netherlands’ Head Coach, Frits Wiegmann, said “It feels great to know we have secured the place in Rio, we have worked really hard for it and we have the possibility to go there now. For the team it’s a really good situation, some are young but for some guys it may be their last opportunity to go to a Paralympic Games. We are in and we have to make the most of it. Now we just take the rest of the tournament game by game and hopefully get a medal.”
Great Britain’s Head Coach Haj Bhania, said “The guys just did a fantastic job. They knew what was needed and they just had to pull it out of the bag today play as hard as they possibly could. We played it our way and credit to all the players. Now we have qualified the hard work starts now preparing for next year and anything else now in this tournament is a bonus, we know that we’ve got lots of work to do ahead of Rio.”
There is now only one place left for the losers of the quarter finals to fight for as they compete in the classification games for 5th – 8th.
The deciding game for the fifth and final qualifying spot for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will take place on Saturday 5th September at 20:15 at the University of Worcester Arena.
For the full list of tomorrow's matches please click here.